China removes Quran and Bible from Apple stores in the countrytext_fields
As part of China's tightened rules for internet firms, phone apps for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity have disappeared from the Apple store available in the country. The crackdown has also impacted Amazon's audiobook service Audible.
Creators for apps designed to listen and read the Quran and Bible said the government requested the removal. The exact reason for the removal of these apps is not clear. The Chinese government has been working on controlling the flow of information online and is now stepping up to enforcement.
The Quran Majeed app's creators, Pakistan Data Management Services, said that it is waiting for more information from China's internet authority about restoring the app. The app had close to one million users in China. Those who have already downloaded the app can still use it.
Olive Tree Bible Software, based in Spokane, Washington, was told it needs special permission to distribute an app with "book or magazine content".
Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for China's embassy in the US, told Associated Press that the Chinese government has "always encouraged and supported the development of the Internet." He added that this development must comply with Chinese laws and regulations.
Chinese authorities had recently imposed stricter rules on children playing video games. A few months ago, the popular language-learning app Duolingo also disappeared from Apple's China store. Moves to control algorithms used by tech firms to personalise and recommend content are also underway.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)'s national deputy director, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, said that the decision must be reversed. He also alleged that Apple is enabling China's religious persecution. "If American corporations don't grow a spine and stand up to China right now, they risk spending the next century subservient to the whims of a fascist superpower", he said.